News Roundup: For Some People, Election 2016 Brought Out …

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

In a new study, Texas researchers say they have found that the 2016 presidential election triggered obsessive-compulsive-like symptoms in some people.

Dr. Eric Storch, vice chair of psychology at Baylor College of Medicine says he first started wondering about the election’s impact over a year ago when he held a training session.

“During the course of the day where this group of about five or six individuals, we just took a break to grab coffee, go to the restroom… and instead of doing that, everyone pulled out their phone and started checking the news,” Storch says.

Storch commented on this and found that regardless of political affiliation, people were trying to find out if anything had happened within the last few hours. And he says people kept checking the news throughout the day.

“So that people who might ordinarily check into the news for a few minutes at the end of the day were now in a somewhat compulsive fashion taking a lot of time to look at what’s happening on the political scene,” he says.

That prompted Storch and his colleagues to come up with a survey to try to measure this behavior. One of those colleagues is research coordinator, Sandra Cepeda.

“So we put together some measures that the behaviors seem to mirror,” Cepeda says. “So a lot of it looks like, kind of OCD symptoms, also anxiety, depression, a lot of people have concerns about worries related to the future of the country.”

Storch and Cepeda collected data from almost 500 survey participants over the course of four weeks. And while, they don’t think they’ve discovered a new disorder…they do think it’s unique from obsessive compulsive disorder.

“In some cases it really was impacting their day,” Storch says. “So that they might spend 1 or 2 hours a day checking news where they didn’t really want to, and the quality of the checking was actually one motivated by distress as opposed to someone who is interested in what’s happening in an intrinsic fashion.”

Storch adds 18 percent of the survey respondents were experiencing highly politically-focused intrusive thoughts and associated ritualistic behaviors.

And it didn’t matter if the participant was a Democrat or Republican.

This study was published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress finds students in major Texas cities aren’t making gains in reading and math.

Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee reports.

Houston is mostly following the national trend with basically flat scores. Houston’s 4th and 8th graders didn’t show any significant progress in either reading or math. And in Austin results were similar. In Dallas, 4th graders posted lower results in math.”

This national report card was released Tuesday and is produced by the U.S. Department of Education.

Austin is the best place to live in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report. But other Texas cities weren’t too far behind. San Antonio ranked 14th on the list of 125 cities. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was 18th.  And even though Houston didn’t make the top 20, it was close behind at 26th.